Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Question - Hair Loss on a Vegan Diet?

"Hi all the info you send my way...Just a quick question...I have always had long, pretty thick hair...I am almost 8 months into my vegan journey and I am losing hair in mass quantities....My diet has been very good..with plenty of legumes...grains...quinoa...greens...fruit...veggies...tofu....Just curious if you ever had this problem??? Overall I feel great and have no plans in stopping my vegan journey...I also supplement B12 and have sun warrior protein shakes a couple of times a week...Any thoughts... Thanks!"

Hi Stacy,
Thanks for your question. I have not experienced this problem, so I had to do some research to find out what could cause a healthy vegan to lose her hair. There's no definitive answer, and of course I have to recommend that you check with your doctor to rule out anything serious. There are several things to look at more closely in your diet though, and the rest of us should do the same, to be sure we keep it all in balance. Everyone, no matter what their diet preference, needs to pay attention to good nutrition. We know it's absolutely possible to maintain a healthy vegan diet, and our bodies will certainly give us clues when something is out of whack. 

Insufficient protein and B12 can be major causes of hair loss, but these don't appear to be the issue for you, Stacy. A condition called "Telogen Effluvium," which is a temporary increase in normal daily hair loss can be brought on by rapid weight loss, which sometimes happens to new vegans. It can also be brought on by any number of drugs, including oral contraceptives, as well as by over-use of vitamin A. Deficiencies in iron, zinc, or lysine are other common causes of hair loss.

Take a close look at your stress level, in combination with nutrition. Stress, as we know, can bring on all sorts of physical problems, including hair loss. You might be getting a signal to decompress a bit, or make some changes in your work or home life.

Another thing to look into is hormone imbalance, which often results in thyroid imbalance. This can be one of the joys of menopause, and is also sometimes caused by eating too much soy in combination with insufficient iodine. 

I would look at all these possibilities individually, and see if anything jumps out. I wish there was an easy answer! At least there are several things to explore, and it's probably as simple as adjusting your supplements a bit. I really appreciate your question Stacy, and look forward to answering others that are coming in. I'm learning a lot, and have ordered several books to have on hand to help me in my research. With good vegan nutrition, and good vegan recipes, we can all be Super Vegans! Please check the sources listed below for more in-depth information.


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